Publication Date: January 2007
Short Synopsis (Goodreads): Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall--the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler--and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever. Full of wildly clever plot twists, this extraordinary first novel establishes Ysabeau Wilce as a compelling new voice in teen fantasy.
My Review: I forget exactly how I came across this book, but I am SO glad I did. This is a keeper guys! This book was a magical mix of Coraline, a Ghibli film, and Gormengast. Where has it been all my life?
Let me explain. Some books you want to read to find out what happens at the end. There is an element of that with this, but honestly, the journey is what really matters with this one. Flora is such an amazingly full character. I can hear her voice in my head and her personality is so funny! I laughed and chuckled constantly with this book. It was fantastic!
And the main character doesn't steal the show either! All of the secondary characters add so much color and contrast that it was such a pleasure meeting them and knowing them as Flora does.
And the WORLD! Ms. Wilce does an absolutely fantastic job creating a land and society that is different and yet familiar and I loved loved loved learning about it. It truly was such a joy to experience it all and to learn more about it as Flora had various adventures and invariably got into trouble (or very narrowly avoided it).
I'm not sure if this would really be everyone's cup of tea, however, it is quite quirky but that was part of its charm for me. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Wilce's writing style and will honestly buy this series for keeps on my bookshelf (just ordered the 3rd and final that came out on the 8th!!). I thought she did a fantastic job of giving us enough detail and back information (Flora's comments and analysis of the people and world around her were just too funny! but also very poignant at times as well) but she kept it going at a good pace and stuff was always happening. But even when stuff wasn't, I didn't feel bogged down, at all, with the minutia of daily life because it was just so clever and Flora was experiencing so much!
I honestly cannot say enough good things about this book. You should read it, you really should!